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the hot days
Dietrich Eichmann Ensemble

sweets from above /
tests of ethics: a) prom jitters and joy / b) dedicated public servants / c) low income seniors /
fingerprint on new security trend / the worm from the void / hot stuff (bouncing right back) / intelligence bowl / five star tragedy / decline of the sighs

 

 

Dietrich Eichmann – piano, harpsichord, bombarde
with Gunnar Brandt-Sigurdsson – hearing aid, electronics, vocals; Chris Heenan – alto saxophone, contrabass clarinet; Michael Griener – drums, percussion; Alexander Frangenheim and Christian Weber – double basses
recorded at Vivaldisaal, Berlin, 6-9 July, 2005
Leo Records 2007

total duration: 63:05

item no. LR 486
retail price: 13,90

 

from the booklet:
Sound and its ‘inner’ structures are rarely to be found more enjoyable and effective than in the context of improvised music. Especially when you consider quizzical elements and flexibility.
Speaking of effectiveness: despite the fact, that the instruments here, with one exception, are all traditional ones, meaning neither amplified nor manipulated in an electronic environment, the possibilities of creating new sounds are amazing.
The greatest surprise for me is the inventive idea of the hearing-aid as used by Gunnar Brandt-Sigurdsson. Theoretically, the idea sounds simple, but the instrument hides a highly flexible voice. The seemingly endless and fluid ambitus does a lot to open the musical space. The hearing-aid is a perfect counterpart to the reeds and the piano. The mobility of this unpredictable instrument is astonishing.
Virtuosity and utmost self-control, playfulness and a lot of openness, resourcefulness and joy, to be unafraid of long silences or orgiastic euphoria - these are the qualities you can hear every musician has available on this recording.
In these performances, fixed-pitch sounds capture the melancholy and the loneliness of someone who is lost, not in a void, but in the overwhelming wonderland of an unexplored jungle.
The other image that sprang to mind, was that I might be listening to a montage with well-placed cuts, created by a movie director. Or that I was listening to a play with various scenes performed by the same few actors, all playing different kinds of roles, in different costumes and settings.
You may appreciate the movie as a whole, but don’t forget to sample some of the scenes separately, I am sure you will not tire of discovering many fine details.
And read my lips: if this music doesn’t speak to you, then there is definitely something wrong with you!
Johan Bossers

 

reviews (excerpts):

The music jumps out at you! Where others fail miserably, this lot injects uncanny elements of soul and heartening concepts into the grand scheme of avant-garde type matters.
Glenn Astarita, Jazzreview

'The Hot Days' sees Eichmann’s fast, detonating cluster work further fractured by a variety of instrumental set-ups that range from hypnotically aggressive duets with Gunnar-Brandt-Sigurdsson, who plays a hearing aid and electronics, through to elongated quintet jams that cross periods of droning silence with doomy twin bass, contrabass clarinet and drums. The results are suitably monolithic.
David Keenan, The Wire

'The Hot Days' possesses the qualities of a live album while maintaining the essence of rare, pretty hard to delimit self-generated chamber music.
Massimo Ricci, Touching Extremes

Eichmann, ohne Scheu vor dem Paradoxen und Komplexen, unternimmt sogar explizit ‚tests of ethics’, mit musikalischen Mitteln und politischem Beigeschmack. Worüber er sich Gedanken macht, zeigen Titel wie ‚sweets from above’, ‚low income seniors’, ‚fingerprint on new security trend’, ‚five star tragedy’, Titel, die manchmal erst auf den zweiten Blick ihre Stoßrichtung offenbaren. Eichmann beginnt und endet in Duetten mit Gunnar Brandt-Sigurdsson, der mit Electronics & Hörgerät (?) jämmerlich jaulen kann. Zwischendurch wechselt er vom Piano zum Cembalo und mit dem Drummer & Perkussionisten Michael Griener zu einem weiteren Duopartner, der seinen gehämmerten Stakkati oder Innenklavierpizzikati mit aufrauschendem Getrommel begegnet. Chris Heenan an Altosax & Kontrabassklarinette stößt hinzu und für die 8 Min. von ‚the worm from the void’ erweitern die beiden Kontrabassisten Alexander Frangenheim und Christian Weber Eichmanns flexibles Ensemble sogar zum Quintett. So auf subtile Weise spitz und kritisch wie seine Ethik, so diskant und ruppig, schnarrend, spotzend und rappelig ist die zugehörige Ästhetik. Der Kapitalismus scheißt und die New Security-Sheriffs bewachen vielleicht die größeren Haufen. Aber man muss kein ‚public servant’ und low income senior in spe (wie ich) sein, um zu kapieren, dass Süßigkeiten schon lange nicht mehr vom Himmel fallen.
Rigobert Dittmann, Bad Alchemy

This is another unexpected gem!
Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery NYC

… Ma il merito di Eichmann è quello di non appiattirsi sui modelli consolidati e, con buona dose di coraggio, cerca nuove strade. Certamente singolare è il suo uso del clavicembalo in un contesto radicale dove convivono sperimentazione, minimalismi cameristici e brandelli umoristici. Vivamente consigliato agli amanti della libera improvvisazione.
Angelo Leonardi, Allaboutjazz Italia

Berlin-based composer and improvising pianist Dietrich Eichmann has been involved in creating an array of notated and instantly created sounds during his two-decade long creative career. But it’s likely that this session is the first he – or perhaps any one else – has organized where one of the main musical voices is a hearing aid.
Luckily, Gunnar Brandt-Sigurdsson who “plays”– if that’s the proper term – the device, overcomes the novelty factor and manages to convert it into a flexible improvising voice. In this slice of 21st Century improv, harsh oscillated timbres fashioned from the ear-addition are and just as crucial for this music as the alternating undulating blasts and delicate breaths of American Chris Heenan’s alto saxophone and contrabass clarinet also heard here.
Basically the more-than-63-minute CD is divided between the tracks featuring the contributions of Brandt-Sigurdsson, and those without his unique sound source. “Worm from the Void” is the most instrumentally conventional, with Heenan and Eichmann joined by inventive local percussionist Michael Griener and the two basses of Christian Weber and Alexander Frangenheim, for their only appearance on the session. Two other tracks are stripped-down duets between the drummer and pianist. Griener’s resonating cymbals and bulls eye-positioned press rolls are also featured on the three-part Test of Ethics suite with Eichmann on harpsichord, Heenan on alto saxophone plus Brandt-Sigurdsson’s hearing aid.
How Brandt-Sigurdsson, who in his other life is a tenor vocalist specializing in New Music, became an aural instrument practitioner is an unanswered question. But during the suite and elsewhere, the device’s spectral timbres are meticulously utilized so that its output melds with that of Heenan’s alto saxophone. Whistling and buzzing like an exposed telephone wire, the hearing aid’s shrilling loops also make common cause with Griener’s cymbal undulation and Eichmann’s connective pianism.
Instructively, Heenan’s and Brandt-Sigurdsson’s interaction is given an extended showcase on the almost 18 minute “Five Star Strategy” with only Eichmann as referee. Here the pianist fans the piano keys as if he was shuffling playing cards, pitter patters note clusters, and bows his instrument’s internal strings. Eventually low-frequency chordal patterns are his backing contribution as both “horns” twitter and belch nearly interchangeable textures, finally accelerating to jagged, fortissimo growls. Since only a reed can be tongue-slapped, it’s finally identifiable. Yet that happens just before the piece climaxes with undulating rasps that encompass not only Brandt-Sigurdsson’s strident cries and Heenan’s bubbling breaths, but also Eichmann’s nasal toned bombarde.
Less unique, but ultimately more satisfying – at least sonically – are the pianist’s dialogues with Griener. On their own the communication is as pronounced as that between Misha Mengelberg and Han Bennink or Irène Schweizer and Pierre Favre. Innovatively comfortable is probably the best description, as uncoiling syncopation meets snap, slaps and ruffs in one case, while bass-pedal expanded upward runs complement drum top and side maneuvering in the other.
Note the potency of their duets when it turns out that bringing the two bassists and Heenan, on contrabass clarinet, into the mix doesn’t add that many sonic timbres on “The Worm in the Void”. In fact, the track is strikingly hushed for one involving the largest number of musicians. Throughout there’s merely the faint stirrings of metronomic piano chords, while the jumbo reed ululates colored air and the bassists are limited to sul tasto rubs. Thumping paradiddles and flams are the loudest sound. Yet by the finale all five players have molded dragging discord into unison drones, with a conclusive diminuendo fading into spacious silence.
The Hot Days is worth scrutinizing equally for Eichmann’s talents as a composer and player; for Brandt-Sigurdsson’s manipulation of a hitherto unexposed improvising tool; and for Griener’s and Heenan’s sympathetic and connective constructions.
Ken Waxman, jazzword


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by oaksmus